April 9, 2012

M. ROWING | Heavyweights Sweep All Six Races at Invitational

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The men’s heavyweight rowing team rebounded from its questionable performance in last weekend’s San Diego Classic, sweeping all six of its races at the 25th annual George Washington Invitational Regatta on Saturday. The Varsity 8 crew bested Georgetown by a narrow, 1.1-second margin before topping UC San Diego with a time of 5:32.60 to 5:58.00

“The first race I wasn’t really excited about — I thought they did parts of it well, but I didn’t think they executed the whole thing as well as they could have,” said head coach Todd Kennett ’91. “The second race … they went a lot faster. So it was like ‘Wow, okay, now we’re starting to get the result we were looking for’ — the second race I felt a lot better about.”

Cornell’s second Varsity 8 and Freshman 8 crews also won their races against Georgetown and and UCSD.

According to Kennett, the difference between racing against one other team versus five other teams simultaneously — as the Red did last week — is negligible.

“To me, rowing is still about the performance — you’re making your boat go as fast as it can; there’s nothing you can do to the other boats other than psych them out by getting ahead,” he explained.

This Saturday, Cornell’s heavyweight squad will travel to Syracuse, N.Y., to take on the Orange and Navy — the latter of which beat the Red twice in San Diego. Navy head coach Rick Clothier is currently in his 37th and final year of coaching — a fact that has not gone unnoticed by his team.

“The Navy guys are sort of [trying to] ‘win one for the Gipper,’ so to speak. They’re trying to make their coach really proud, and it’s pretty obvious,” Kennett said.

Meanwhile, Syracuse defeated Cornell’s A crew in the Varsity 4 event in the fall, which should go a long way in making for a “really hot [upcoming] weekend,” according to Kennett.

“Every boat is going to be really highly-contested, and I think we’re going to have to hit our best to be able to win these races,” he said.

Back in Ithaca, the No. 5 Cornell lightweight squad started its spring season on a high note, defeating Penn in the first Varsity 8 race on Saturday to claim the Matthews Cup. The Red was also awarded the Leonard Cup for best team performance against the visiting Quakers and Harvard Crimson.

The day’s races featured strong showings from the second and third Varsity crews, which topped Harvard by a 16- and 20-second margin, respectively. The Crimson edged out the Red in the first Freshman 8 race — 6:08.0 to 6:12.2 — though Cornell did finish ahead of Penn by an identical four-second margin.

Like the heavyweights, the lightweight team will be away from the Cayuga Lake Inlet this Saturday, as the Red travels to Princeton to take on the Tigers and visiting Yale.

Original Author: Alex Kuczynski-Brown